Autumn Stirrings

The shifting of seasons, especially the autumnal equinox seems to stir something in me.  Like the winds readying to undress the trees, I felt my summer begin to fall away a few weeks ago. The list of projects, activities, planned hikes and trips to the coast—many were left undone. All seemed attainable as summer approached, then life remained busy, weekends passed and now—October is here. As I read back over old journals, looking for poems to include in the manuscript I’m preparing, I noticed several “autumn” themed poems: falling leaves, blustering winds, darkened mornings, rain soaked days, drawing inward.

Autumn, as a season and a metaphor has attracted me for years and, when asked, I would say it was my favorite of the four. As I age though, I appreciate more clearly the invitations, lessons and playfulness each these natural rotations through the year has to offer. Still, turning leaves, tug of brisk morning breeze, coating of fog painted on the valley floor, whiff of decaying windfalls on the ground—it touches the hearth-place in me. A need to be home, settled.

On the one hand, I have poems about the wind telling the leaves to let go and dance, not be held back and trust the journey (see: The Wind Asks the Last Leaf of November Why It Stays On the Tree  That is part of autumn, letting what is no longer needed fall away, back into the soil. And yet it is also the time of year animals store food supplies for winter and coats thicken for protection. Ah, the mystery of paradox. Holding two opposites side by side. What do I release? Where do I dance freely, stomping in the puddles with abandon? What do I set aside for winter to keep with me at the hearth for stormy days?

If you have read any of my other blog posts, you will know by now I don’t offer answers. I do come back to the wisdom that has been offered to me: hold things loosely. The autumn wind will tug away what is unnecessary. And what needs to be brought inside and set by the hearth for warmth and tending will also become apparent if, as I learned in my labyrinth training, I look with soft eyes. What do you feel the wind is tugging from your hands that you need to loosen your grip on? What needs tending by the hearth this season of drawing inward? Take time to watch the leaves dancing across the roads and listen to the frogs sing their final ballads before winter sets in and be curious about what this season is offering to you.

Here is another one of my "autumn" themed poems from a few years ago that I rediscovered:

Last Act
The fire in leaf, reflection
    true color    
    genuine, authentic
Work done, sun energy no longer
        to have purpose
Simply to shine, to say
    “see me as I am”
Soon I will caress the moving air with my fire
Paint the browning lawn with my blood
My last act before
            returning to earth.

© anne richardson 2012